Anjili Laura, the Millennial Model Whose Focus Keeps Her Ahead Of The Game In The Kenyan Creative Economy
Support and investment in human talent is undoubtedly essential for Kenya's creative economy to flourish and Anjili Laura, a Kenyan millennial model, attests to this ideal. In this interview, Anjili articulates the challenges faced in the Kenyan modelling industry, such as lack of transparency regarding compensation by clients, and how contracts shield models against partaking in exploitative projects that are either underpaid or not paid at all. The Kung'ara team sat down with her to gain some insight on how her focus and determination have led her to work with numerous African designer brands, and what her hopes are for the future of the Kenyan creative economy. Read below:
BY HARUN MOMANYI FOR KUNG'ARA STORE
Kung'ara: You've just been nominated for the 2017 Kenya Fashion Awards. How do you feel about it and what would be winning the title mean to you?
Anjili Laura: I feel super excited about the nomination! It came to me very unexpectedly and I am looking forward to hearing the results in October. This award will show and prove my dedication, perseverance and hard work through chasing my dreams and ambitions in life. Like I always say, this is just the beginning. Cheers to many more.
Kung'ara: Many models in Kenya air out their grievances regarding compensation in the modelling industry in Kenya. Would you say that models are fairly paid? If not, what do you feel can be done about it?
Anjili Laura: Something that I think people don’t realize is that modelling is not just all about glamour and stardom. Most models are doing a job like anyone else to pay their bills and make a living. I feel as though potential clients should invest in the talent they use for their projects. Models do so much work and still complain of being underpaid. One thing that models should also pay attention to is being very strict with the contracts they sign before submitting themselves to any work. It's important to always seal a deal and maintain professionalism at work.
Kung'ara: You are one of the most sought after models in Nairobi. How did it all start, was modelling something you always wanted to do? Was there any particular event or moment in your life that made you fall in love with modeling or realize your potential?
Anjili Laura: Well, I started modelling in 2013 but back in mind I’ve always naturally been a model (at least that’s what I hear from people around me) I grew up watching Tyra Banks in her eponymous famous TV show, The Tyra Banks Show. Also America’s Next Top Model was one of my favourite programs. It’s really not something I’ve always wanted to do, I had other things in mind like being a PR Consultant or a TV Anchor as a full time career. Modelling would only be a part time job.
Kung'ara: There has been a recent trend in Nairobi and globally where models are hired to host clubs, as well as promote various brands on their social media platforms. What are the 3 personal branding tips you would give to aspiring models looking to get ahead in the modelling industry via paid gigs and sponsored online posts?
Anjili Laura: Firstly, in order to be successful you have to start somewhere. Secondly, never say never. Thirdly, do whatever it takes to fulfil your dreams. Branding is a very important aspect when it comes to finding and looking for clients. Clients prefer people who are focused and know what they are doing in life.
Kung'ara: Do you have any short term and long term goals? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years?
Anjili Laura: I see my job as an opportunity to come up with more creative ideas .10 years from now, I will have mastered my profession within the modeling industry. I'll have enhanced my professionalism while learning new skills and interacting with different people.
Kung'ara: The "wellness" trend has seen an upsurge in people in Nairobi wanting to get fit. As a model with a svelte physique, what diet or exercise regimen do you follow? Do you have any tips for people looking to get fit?
Anjili Laura: Honestly I think the urge to become fit has always been there, people just get obsessed by fitness from social media and people around them. Personally, I never work out or do any crazy diets but soon I might have to start watching my diet due to some unavoidable circumstances. To people looking to get fit I would urge you to put your mind into it, know what you want to look like and work hard towards it.
Kung'ara: You’ve worked with a range of photographers in Nairobi. Are there any photographers in and outside of Nairobi that you would really like to work with in future?
Anjili Laura: Fortunately, I’ve had the chance to work with pretty much every photographer I’ve always wanted to work with but I looking forward to working with people like Mario Testino, Annie Leibovitz, Emily Soto among others.
Kung'ara: What would you recommend a friend to get from the Kung’ara website?
Anjili Laura: The Satin slip dress and the Navy Jumpsuit are my all time favorites from Kung’ara.
Kung'ara: Are there any style icons that you look up to?
Anjili Laura: Have you seen Gigi Hadid! Her style is impeccable and I find myself stalking her once in a while. I also love Pari Ehsan and Tyra Banks.
Kung'ara: Besides modelling, what are your other interests e.g. academic or hobbies?
Anjili Laura: Besides modeling I’m looking forward to starting my Masters in Public Relations soon. I also enjoy cooking, dancing and watching movies. I’ve also developed an interest in coming up with new concepts for upcoming projects. That keeps me on the move.
Kung'ara: Are there any charitable causes that you're passionate about?
Anjili Laura: I have been part of many campaigns and charitable foundations including the Hands Off Our Elephants Campaign, Souls Of Charity and She4She.